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Singer-violinist Emma BackWATERBURY CENTER – “Charming sensibilities, excellent structuring and arranging, as well as her ability to confound emotionally will likely bring listeners back for repeat encounters,” reports Jordan Adams in Seven Days.
Back, a Burlington-based live-looping singer-violinist, performs “Strife and Joy” at the Grange Hall Cultural Center at 7:30 p.m. (doors at 6:30) Friday Dec. 13.
Back is a classically and jazz-trained violinist and vocalist and has been performing since the age of 7. She uses a loop pedal to create lush layers of rhythm and harmony, accomplishing a sonic and poetic lyricism that reaches deep into the past and far into the future simultaneously.
“Strife and Joy” creates for listeners an intimate experience of impermanence, receptivity, conflict and creation, delving into the intersection of the personal and universal as a way to heal, find hope and move forward through challenging times. Through layers of vocals and strings, Back’s dynamic, live-looping performance gathers listeners in a web of haunting melodic storytelling.
The idea of “Strife and Joy” emerged during a solo songwriting retreat in the Vermont woods in February 2019. After writing an album (“Little World,” 2019) that focused on conflict and social issues, Back decided to delve into the more internal, emotional experience of being human, seeking to unmask the connection between the two extremes of suffering and bliss that form much of our life stories.
Admission is by donation (reservations requested); go online to www.grangehallcc.com/events/. The Grange Hall is located at 317 Howard St.
MONTPELIER – When Paul Asbell’s CD “Burmese Panther” was released, the original CD personnel played a show in Montpelier’s Unitarian Church to a packed, enthusiastic audience. A year later, they’re reprising that performance, featuring the same players, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Unitarian Church. Musicians are: Asbell, guitar; Michael Zsoldos, tenor sax; Tom Cleary, piano; Clyde Stats, bass; and Gabriel Jarrett, drums.
“Burmese Panther” was the culmination of several years of composing, arranging and fine-tuning of Asbell’s original compositions with a regular group of professional players. The summer-long recording process allowed each of the pieces to achieve their own distinct personalities, equally reflective of the collective skills of the musicians, and the vision of the composer.
The $15 admission includes a discount on purchase of the CD (single, or multiples); go online to http://paulasbell.com.
ST. JOHNSBURY – KCP Presents and Catamount Arts invite you to kick off the holiday season with an evening wrapped in the warm vocal magic of five-time Grammy winners The Swingles. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall, the London-based singers The Swingles will perform a festive program of folk- and jazz-inspired a cappella originals, traditional carols and holiday favorites evocative of blankets of snow and fireside sing-alongs.
For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers performing today are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the internationally acclaimed group since they first made waves in the 1960s. At a time when a cappella music is more popular than ever, The Swingles are recognized worldwide as masters of their craft.
JOHNSON – The Danceland show on Northern Vermont University’s Johnson campus will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14, at Dibden Center for the Arts. The show is a production of NVU-Johnson’s dance club at the end of each semester.
The student-choreographed event will feature some 35 dance club members performing and guest dancers from Stowe Dance Academy. The show will include a variety of music — from Top-40 hits to symphonic blends — and dance styles ranging from jazz and hip-hop to musical theater.
Admission is free, but reserved tickets are recommended as the show draws a standing-room-only audience; call 802-635-1476., or go online to https://northernvermont.edu/johnsonevents.
Holiday art and sculpture
BRAINTREE – From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, renowned portrait and landscape artist, Carolyn Egeli hosts a Holiday Open House at her art studio located at 750 Brainstorm Road. Also exhibiting will be sculptor Chris Wilson. Todd Keenhold will be playing Christmas carols on his acoustic guitar and Christmas carol song books will be handed out so everyone can sing along.
Egeli is the daughter of renowned portraitist Bjorn Egeli, and Carolyn continues the tradition. She studied at Moore College of Art and Design and also with her father, who was classically trained at the Corcoran School of Art. She has an art career spanning over 50 years. Portraits she has painted include: leading figures in religion, such as Cardinal Egan of New York; leaders in science, such as Dr. Albert Sabin, who invented the polio vaccine; leaders in government; industry and prominent families in the U.S.
Wilson’s love of the sculptural form began at an early age, but after high school he went on to study dentistry in the U.S. Air Force, sculpting gold crowns and dentures. He has studied under Jerry Williams of Barre, as well as many other talented sculptors. Currently, Wilson is preparing a major portrait sculpture exhibition. “It Takes a Village” opens in June of 2020 at the Art Galley of the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, then touring to numerous venues in the United States and Canada.
The Carolyn Egeli Art Studio will also be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15. For more information, contact Carolyn at 240-925-7320.
Daniel Bernard Roumain solo
BURLINGTON –The Flynn Center for the Arts’ artist-in-residence for this season, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), will present a solo performance at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 in FlynnSpace.
Back after his epic performance piece, “24-Hour Protest Song” — a nonstop street performance from October in which he collaborated with local and national artists and activists in real time in front of Burlington’s City Hall — DBR returns to the Flynn for his third residency of the season (in a five-part series coordinated in collaboration with the University of Vermont Lane Series and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra).
DBR’s acclaimed work as a composer, performer, educator, and activist spans more than two decades, and he has been commissioned by artists and institutions worldwide. Known for his signature genre-bending violin sounds, infused with electronic, urban and African-American music influences, Emmy-winner DBR is “about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (The New York Times). His weeklong December stint in Vermont features this intimate, solo Flynn Space performance as its centerpiece.
Tickets are $25; call 802-86-FLYNN (863-5966), voice/relay calls welcome; or go online to www.flynncenter.org.